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Titans vs Raiders players to watch, defense

Which players do the Titans want to step up.

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

The Titans NEED the defense to step up again if they are hoping for a win in Oakland. The Raiders have been able to beat teams on the ground and through the air, so it needs to be a team effort from the Tennessee defense. However, the individuals that need to stand out most are:

Ropati Pitoitua

RoPo is the Titans third best overall defensive player right now in my opinion. Pitouitua has done a great job shutting down running lanes on his side of the field, and his relentless effort continues to put him in good positions as a pass rusher. Last week the Texans let the Raiders run the ball too effectively, and the Titans can't win if they have a similar day.

Zach Brown

The primary offensive targets today in my mind would be Michael Rivera and Rashad Jennings. Both of those players could see one-on-one coverage from Zach Brown all day. If the Titans choose to go that route, then on third downs it will ultimately come down to Brown's ability to cover one-on-one in space. If Brown can do it, then 21 points might be enough to win the day; if not then the Titans will be in for a long day.

Moise Fokou

If Fokou plays today, then he will be key in aligning the defense and tackling running backs on first contact. Earlier this week I wrote a story about Fokou that shows how much better the Titans defense is when he is in, but the summary is this: Fokou=less running yards, TDs, and more sacks. He is a huge asset to this team, and he can't get into the starting lineup fast enough.